It’s September and for most people, the feeling of a new beginning. But if you are one those people who hate their jobs, are sick of a long commute or struggling in a job search this time of year can suck.
You want a change and you want it now.
It doesn’t always work like that. But there is some work you can do today that is like pressing fast forward on achieving that change. Which is why I’ve compiled ALL of my top tips, tricks and resources to try and make that happen for you.
Step 1: Know what you want.
You know you want a change. But do you know what that change actually looks like? If you are struggling to define a specific career, job or industry it can have you flailing around and going nowhere.
Instead, if you are laser focused and know exactly what it is you are looking for that allows you to customize everything to achieve that one thing.
Need help? My favourite exercise is the Interests, Motivations and Skills and it focuses on what career fits in with your life, your skill set AND what will bring you joy. I wrote a whole article about it and how this exercise helped me figure out that this was MY dream career.
Cheap Resource: Find Career Happiness Course, only $4.95
Step 2: Write a Stand Out Resume
This is your primary marketing document. You are now a product and your resume is your pamphlet selling you to companies. So make sure that it is telling a cohesive story, one that is relevant to the job and company you are applying for.
And since Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are taking over the world, make sure it is optimized, such as having the right key words in the right format.
I've written a ton on resumes, like the Modern Day rules, how to optimize and writing a winning one.
Free Resource: The Ultimate Resume Checklist
Step 3: Don’t Just Hit Apply
You see an amazing job. You spend hours customizing and optimizing your resume. You hit apply and then you wait. Sound familiar?
I liken applying on job boards to a black hole, you send resumes out only to hear nothing in return.
If you want a job fast, you need to make sure that your resume isn’t getting lost with the rest of them (an average of 250!). So do something about it. Find the key decision maker or who may be the key decision maker and follow up that application with an email to them stating your interest and your differentiating factor.
Step 4: Outsource Your Job Search
Make sure you have has many people out there helping you out in your job search. That includes engaging your current network. A coffee with an old manager, or maybe a lunch with a colleague who works at company you want to work at. These are your strongest advocates, making sure they know what you want and are looking for will help them determine appropriate opportunities for you to consider.
That also includes optimizing your LinkedIn to be found. Found by recruiters. Having an “all-star” LinkedIn profile that is full of great information and keywords, getting as close to the magic number of connections and logging in each and every day will increase your likelihood of showing up in a recruiter’s search.
Cheap Resource: Purposeful Networking Course - $14.95
Step 5: Get Help
Outplacement services (those provided by employers to employees they are laying off) are very similar to Career Coaching services. I should know because I do both!
The great thing about outplacement is that they provide services to a large number of clients which yields great data.
And that data is very promising.
A person engaged in the process with a Career Coach lands a job 50-63% faster than the national average. Crazy right?
So maybe the biggest factor in speeding up your search could be as simple as hiring a coach.
Investment Resource: Career Coaching Packages or Job Search Rescue Plan
Free Resource: Strategy Call with Me
Step 6: Create a Plan
A lot of job searches are chaotic. They begin and end with job boards.
The problem with that is the math. Each job gets on average 250 applications and only 4-6 are selected for an interview. Of that 4-6, not all come from the 250, so only about 10% of applications get an interview (some stats say as little as 2%, eek!).
That means the majority of the time you send out a resume for a posted job, you will never hear anything.
So you need to do more than just applying for jobs but with our natural inclination to centre our search around them you need to create a plan so that you can make sure you do more.
Create a plan that encompasses all the key aspects of a job search, including networking, volunteering, research and preparation and social media.
Free Resource: Dream Career Planner
If you follow these 6 steps, I’m positive you’ll see incredible results. By Christmas, you can be in that dream job. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
Leveraging LinkedIn for your career is one of the smartest things you can do and one that doesn’t even take up much of your time. Optimizing it to enable great job opportunities to come to you is a sure fire way for you to take control of your career. If you are actively job searching, it outsources some of that search, making your job search life just a little bit easier.
When I’m talking about leveraging and optimizing, I’m talking about setting up your LinkedIn profile so that you can be found specifically by recruiters. When a company begins a new search, 87% of recruiters turn to LinkedIn when they are seeking new talent to fill that opportunity. I was one of those 87%, I almost exclusively used LinkedIn throughout my 15 years of recruitment experience so I know a thing or two about what goes through a recruiters mind when they are hunting for that perfect candidate, knowledge that you can use to make sure your profile is all set.
1. Complete Your Profile
LinkedIn does have an algorithm and that algorithm is kinder to profiles that are 100% filled out, or received the All Star Badge. This will bias the search engine in your favour.
This is the number one thing you can do to get someone to click on your profile and send you a message, in fact LinkedIn’s stats show that you can get 9x more connection requests, 21x more profile views and 36x more messages
The photo doesn’t have to be a head-shot, but it does have to be professional.
3. Name, Headline & Location
When a recruiter does a search, the results show up with page after page of names, headlines and locations.
Most of us recruiters are inherently lazy, something I say all the time. But honestly we are lazy because it isn’t uncommon for the search results to be in the hundreds if not thousands, which means we have to be lazy as a way to be highly efficient with our time. So we only click on the profiles that are in line with what we are looking for:
Recruiters use search strings to find talent, search strings full of key words. That means when you are thinking about your profile don’t just fill it out from the perspective of what you do, also think of it from the perspective of what you want to do! Take a look at 3-5 jobs that are reflective of the industries, companies and jobs you would be interested in. Highlight the keywords that are common and fill out your profile with them.
A great place to start is your summary. I always include a list of skills and competencies in a client’s summary, a recruiter may never see that list (they would have to click “see more” and remember – lazy and no time) but the search engine sees them!
Next, make sure your work experience is up to date and actually filled in with information. It is recommended that you don’t copy and paste your resume but instead make your LinkedIn profile reflective of your resume. Use the keywords where relevant.
Lastly, use the Skills section. The great thing about this section is when you click to add more you’ll get some suggestions from LinkedIn. Use these suggestions! These are identified based on search strings used by people to find individuals like yourself, and chances are those people are recruiters! Use all 50 to get the biggest bang for your buck with this section.
5. Your Network
You can have the perfect profile but if you don’t have enough connections all that work would be for naught. As I have discussed in the past, your goal is to be a 3rd degree connection with most everyone within your industry and/or region. That 500 number is still the magic one, so working towards it is key!
6. Be Active
LinkedIn’s algorithm takes into account more than just a good profile, it now takes into account user activity and is kinder to those who log in often and engages on their platform. When you wake up in the morning, do you do a quick review of all your favourite social media platforms? Well I would add LinkedIn to that list and maybe like (or comment or share) a post each time you log in. 5 minutes of your time MAX.
7. Turn On Open to Career Opportunities
Let recruiters know you are open to hearing about new jobs.
Curious to know if it is working? There are a few things you can do. In your dashboard, look at your search appearances and your profile views numbers, they should rise after this work.
Don’t want to wait? Test it out yourself. Take a look at a job you are interested in, if you were trying to find a candidate to fill this role what sort of search strings would you use? Type them in, narrow down by location and see if you show up on one of the first few pages?
Feeling lost? I can help with that, schedule a strategy call to talk more about it.
Everyone wants to succeed. Their definition of success may be different, but that desire is the same.
The journey to success used to be simple. You worked hard, you made the right connections, and you put your hand up. And what made it even easier was that you did it within the hours of 9-5pm at the physical office you worked at.
Our world isn’t like that anymore, it has changed. People work all hours of the day, flexible work arrangements are on the rise and we work with teams and individuals virtually more than ever.
So we can’t lean on the old way of finding success as the only way anymore, we have to implement some new strategies and think about our path differently.
Being a committed employee who exceeds expectations is still vital to any definition of success, but how you share that message is different. And that is where it gets more challenging.
We need to think of ourselves not as an employee but as a product.
This is so hard for us. It is one of the biggest reasons why people come to me to rewrite their resume and LinkedIn profiles and to provide interview coaching. We are so immersed in our careers that it is so hard to only focus on what matters.
We forget that we aren’t creating a chapter book but instead a marketing plan. I love to use the analogy of a magazine. What is it about you that will grab someone’s attention to stop at your ad within the magazine? You don’t need to tell them everything you just need to tell them what about you fits their needs.
The foundation of every marketing plan is a branding message, and in the case of your career, a personal brand. The personal brand is your messaging that shows the world your personality, your goals and your differentiating factor aka the value you bring to the table.
Your brand sends a message and creates an impression. One that extends beyond your work, your LinkedIn page or your interactions with your colleagues.
You may think that creating a personal brand just isn’t for you, especially if you are not even in marketing! But it is a super simple exercise.
Here are six questions for you to ask yourself that will result in a personal brand that lets everyone know how amazing you are.
1. What does success mean to me?
You need to get clear on your goals. On your own definition for success. Remember to clear the noise of societal pressures and messages. You don’t have to want something just because society or family makes you feel like you should want it.
2. What matters most to me?
This is a hard question to answer because it requires some digging. I want you to think about what you value most – in your work, in others (colleagues, management), in yourself. When you think of your definition of success, what type of impact does that lead you to? Think back on your performance reviews, what feedback mattered most to you (made you really happy or upset).
3. What is my story?
This is a quick story, a 1-2 sentence story. One that is cohesive and quickly shows off who you are, what you have done and where you want to go. Don’t forget to show off you, the authentic you not the cookie cutter you. So make sure you are genuine when crafting your story.
4. Where am I going?
Now it is time to focus on your future. How do your goals lines up with your definition of success? Are you looking at a promotion, a career pivot or a complete career change? Maybe your goals have nothing to do with the actual job but more the type of workplace – one where you can work from home, or set up a new business. Be clear on your destination.
5. What matters to my target audience?
When you know what you want, then you can have a clearer picture of who will be a decision maker on your future. Think about what matters to them. What skills, knowledge and experience do they want?
6. How can I tie it all together?
You know what you offer. And you know what your audience wants. So now you need to craft a message that reflects what they want. Your message should hopefully convince them that you are the person to give them what they need.
These six questions leave you knowing your value in a nutshell! This is the message you will weave throughout your marketing plan, including your LinkedIn profile, your elevator pitch, your resume and cover letter or a talent profile.
You will also weave it throughout your networking with your current network and with new contacts. When speaking with key decision makers, make sure you include some of these talking points casually into the conversation.
This foundation will allow you to build a successful career, one that will stand the test of time.
Do you want to talk through your personal brand? Set up a complimentary strategy call with me to go over it.
Sara Curto, Career Management Specialist. Working with you towards Career and Job Search Success.
Dream Career Planner
Click HERE to download